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Renew Economy:

The New South Wales government says it has been “swamped” by 34 gigawatts of renewable energy projects for what will be the country’s biggest renewable energy zone in New England, in the state’s north.

The massive response to an EOI (expressions of interest) issued by the state Liberal government is more than four times greater than the capacity needed to fill the planned 8GW renewable energy zone.

“The overwhelming response shows this is a once in a generation opportunity to attract enormous investment into regional areas, cementing NSW’s renewable energy future,” energy minister Matt Kean said in a statement.

The results were announced just a day after federal energy minister Angus Taylor pushed a controversial new capacity mechanism – dubbed the “Coalkeeper subsidy” – that most analysts and energy companies say will stymie such investment.

The states, however, including NSW, have shown little enthusiasm to bend to Taylor’s ideological pursuit and are likely to resist the proposals and large continue on their own plans to transition to renewables.

The New England REZ – based around Armidale – is one of at least five renewable energy zones planned by the NSW Liberal government to replace its ageing coal fleet, most of which is expected to retire in the next 10 years. Liddell will close in 2023, Vales Point and Eraring by 2032, and Bayswater and Mt Piper in the following years.

[Giles Parkinson]

More: NSW stuns with 34GW of wind, solar proposals for New England renewable zone

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